The ongoing protests against the Mamata Banerjee government in West Bengal seem to have trickled down to other states in the nation. Doctors across the nation are coming out in support of the NRS hospital doctors who were physically assaulted by a mob whilst the Bengal police stood there as mute spectators. On Monday, a mob of nearly 200 people attacked doctors and interns at the NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata after the death of Mohammed Sayeed. While doctors claim that Mohammed was 85 years old and died due to natural causes, the family of the deceased thought otherwise.
The agitation entered the fifth day today as doctors continued to demand adequate security after their colleagues were attacked and seriously injured following a patient’s death at NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata. Coming out in support of the doctors in Bengal are doctors Delhi, Maharashtra, and other states, some of them also held a strike on 14th of June.
Reports of mass resignations by doctors in Bengal have also surfaced further increasing pressure on Mamata government after she had given an ultimatum to the doctors which failed to evoke any response by the protesters.
However, Mamata staying on course has tried to shift the blame from the TMC government and is looking to pin it on the doctors, BJP, CPI (M) and ‘outsiders’. “I condemn the agitation. The junior doctors’ strike is a conspiracy by the CPI(M) and BJP,” said Mamata Banerjee, who also holds the health and family welfare portfolio in the state government. She directed the police to clear the premises (SSKM hospital) and only allow patients to stay. She also said, “Outsiders are instigating the doctors. I had rightly said that they were involved in yesterday’s protest. I had seen some outsiders raising slogans.”
These statements are just another indication of the delusional and authoritarian Mamata Banerjee government in Bengal, which has failed the state on multiple fronts and now is failing in handling this sensitive issue of security of medical professional and students. For Mamata Banerjee who shot herself to power riding on the protests against the then CPI (M) government in the state now finds herself on the receiving end of the things.
More than ten years after Tata Motors was forced to move its Nano car project out of West Bengal’s Singur, past of Mamata Banerjee’s anti-land acquisition movement, orchestrated against the Left government, is repeating itself, only this time Mamata Banerjee is at the receiving end with doctors at the protesting end. Singur where the Nano plant was located, proved to be a turning point in Banerjee’s political career in 2011 when it helped end the 34-year rule of the Left Front in the state.
Following a long legal battle with the Tata’s, the Mamata Banerjee government in 2016 had returned the land to the farmers with much fanfare. As compensation for the farmers Mamata Banerjee government gives them a monthly dole of Rs 2,000 and 16 kilograms of rice at Rs 2 per kilogram.
“Initially we were happy to have got back the land, but later we realised it was of no use to us anymore. What happens with just Rs 2,000 a month and 16 kilograms of rice? Is it enough to run a family of five persons?” asked a farmer from Singur. However many believe that these protests by doctors would do the same to Mamata Banerjee Government what the Singur protests did to the CPI(M) government. CPI(M) government in 2011 was reduced to just 62 seats from 233 seats in the West Bengal Assembly after a strong-arm rule of more than 30 years.
These protests have been intensified to unprecedented levels where even TMC supporters and family members of TMC placeholders are coming out in open support of the doctors and calling out Mamata’s mismanagement of the situation. A video has surfaced showing Chief Minister’s nephew, Dr. Abesh Banerjee leading a protest rally showing solidarity with the agitating doctors of the Nil Ratan Sarkar Medical College and Hospital (NRS).
According to sources, Abesh led a protest rally on Wednesday from KPC hospital to the NRS hospital. Kolkata Mayor and West Bengal minister Firhad Hakim’s daughter, a doctor, Shabba Hakim, has also come up with strong criticism of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s handling of the ongoing doctors’ strike and said medicos have the right to “peaceful protest” and “safety at work. In a Facebook post, Shabba Hakim asked people to question why “goons were still surrounding hospitals and beating up doctors”.
All the protests and trouble mounting up against Mamata Banerjee is sure to have a significant impact on her political standing; the recent outcome of the Lok Sabha polls where TMC had lost huge political ground to the BJP is already a red sign for Mamata Banerjee who has been significantly losing credibility and support for the voters. These protests are surely now past the point of no return for Mamata to save her political credibility. Singur protests had propelled Mamata Banerjee to power by ousting the CPI(M) and now these protests by doctors will surely be the ‘Singur’ for Mamata’s regime and be the main cause for her downfall.